The Effect of the Moon on the Drake Equation

I have been watching a thing on Discovery Channel about comets and asteroids and all manner of swiftly moving, potentially deadly space debris.

Scary shit.  Even though we have a bit more knowledge of the universe around us than the dinosaurs did, we are no more prepared. If we get hit with an object that size, we will be just as extinct as the dinosaurs.

Of course, events like that don’t happen very often.  Maybe once every 60 million years or so.  Which means, from a gambler’s point of view, that we’re overdue.

One of the reasons Earth is only hit by a life destroying object like that is because we are shielded by our moon.  Our moon which was formed a few billion years ago when a huge chunk of the Earth just ripped off, and that also led to our atmosphere and to the stability of the Earth’s spin which gives us our pleasant and manageable mix of 4 seasons.

So, here’s where the Drake Equation comes in.  If it’s necessary to have a planet with a large moon that was formed by  being pulled from the planet itself in order for life to evolve, and to avoid asteroids for long enough for intelligent life to figure out how to leave the planet, and if that only happens in one solar system in a million, because it sure seems like a bizarre and random occurrence, then maybe intelligent, spacefaring species only exist in around 1 in a million solar systems.

Which means there might not be more than a couple thousand intelligent species in the galaxy,  and spaced pretty far apart.

I’m as much of a space enthusiast as anybody, but I’m starting to suspect that we might still be alone for a while.


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